ID: HR23-493
Presenting author: Rhys Ponton

Presenting author biography:

Dr Rhys Ponton is a pharmacist with over twenty-five years experience in clinical practice and research. He is based at the University of Auckland, where he conducts research into various aspects of substance use, with a specific interest in the methods of drug consumption and associated harm reduction.

Formulating Microdoses: A netnographic exploration of consumer dose manufacture worldwide

Rhys Ponton, Estelle Miller
Background and Aims
“Microdosing” of psychedelic drugs is an emerging and growing trend. Proponents claim a range of benefits including treatment of existing mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, to self-improvement in areas such as productivity and creativity. The recent emergence of this trend and the use of drugs from illicit sources mean that there is limited information available on how to prepare and consume microdoses. Many consumers obtain information from online sources. This project was designed to capture and assess these preparation methods to identify any potential risks posed and reduce associated harm.

A netnographic study was conducted to compile and to characterise online microdosing information. Medical databases, video websites, online forums, drug specific websites and forums, search engines, and social media websites were searched. Preparation methods were evaluated and assessed with a specific focus on drug dosage and safety. Information was collected and thematically categorised before analysis.

174 unique resources were found containing information on how to prepare microdoses. LSD and psilocybin-containing mushrooms were the most commonly consumed substances. Preparation methods for LSD involved volumetric dosing and cutting tabs, whereas psilocybin was most often prepared by grinding mushrooms and consuming a portion of this ground material. Microdoses were often consumed orally, and most users followed the ‘Fadiman’ dosing schedule. Appreciation of potential harm was largely overlooked despite risks posed due to inaccurate dose dilution.

This netnographic approach enabled the investigation and extraction of international data from multiple sources. A variety of information was found, with many trends identified. More research is needed to understand how microdose consumers are learning to prepare doses, and most importantly, what drugs and doses they are actually consuming. This will enable the development and dissemination of harm reduction resources in this field.